On Monday, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) released a blog attacking Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) because he supports the expansion of renewable fuels. Really.
In March, Loebsack reintroduced legislation (H.R. 4673) establishing a grant program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to invest in renewable and alternative fuel infrastructure. Specifically, the Renewable Fuel Utilization, Expansion and Leadership (Re-FUEL) Act would create new and retrofit existing infrastructure, including pumps for biofuels and hydrogen, tanks, piping and electric vehicle chargers. The legislation is paid for and would not add to the deficit.
But the AMA is advising its members to oppose H.R. 4673 because “none of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles in use in the U.S. are certified by EPA to operate on fuel containing more than 10% ethanol.” AMA believes that expanded infrastructure will lead to more E15 availability and misfueling by motorcycle riders. Riders are more responsible and careful about what fuel goes into their motorcycles than owners of any other vehicle. They will notice the E15 label, and lack of required octane, quicker than anyone and AMA suggesting otherwise is simply nonsense.
Consider these facts:
- E15 is only found at 200+ stations today and the octane of E15 would be too low for motorcycles. E15 is sold as 88 octane today. As a rider, we look for octane before anything else, and this would keep E15 out of motorcycles.
- E15 is clearly identified by an orange and black label that says what engines can and cannot use it. Motorcycles cannot, and in fact, it would be illegal.
- The Re-FUEL Act would eliminate the potential for misfueling even more. If new infrastructure is funded, it likely move E15 to its own hose on the dispenser and eliminate the chance of misfueling by motorcycles and all other consumers.
- The Re-FUEL Act would increase the chances of finding premium fuel at stations, the fuel needed by motorcycle riders. If new infrastructure is funded, it would provide more tanks and create more dispenser configurations that would allow many retailers to keep premium, or perhaps re-add it. This should make EVERY motorcycle rider happy.
AMA’s concerns are so overblown, it is clear some other agenda is driving them. Back in 2013, AMA hosted a lobby day on ethanol. The event was sponsored by our nation’s oil refiners, and their lunch was purchased by the anti-RFS groups in the food industry. This has never been about motorcycles, or the fuel they need. If so, there would have been more than just words. AMA knows that the bigger issue for riders is 85 octane gasoline, not ethanol. Riders at the largest motorcycle rally in the country have seen it throughout the Rocky Mountain Region, and have seen it as the only fuel offered. Millions of gallons of 85 octane fuel are sold each year, yet AMA remains silent.
Motorcycles can safely use gasoline with up to 10% ethanol, but this fact is obscured by AMA’s anti-ethanol campaign. Riders need to find the right amount of octane suggested by their manufacturer, and use it, regardless if it contains 10% ethanol or not.
RFA appreciates the leadership of Congressman Loebsack on ethanol, and on behalf of all alternative fuels. We need all of these fuels to help further cut our dependence on foreign oil, lower our greenhouse gas emissions and keep the price of our fuel in a position that further spurs our economy. Otherwise, who can afford the luxury of a motorcycle anyway?